At Orb and Arson, slope style turns vibrantly hip
Traditionally, the only time serious shredders busted out ’80s-inspired neon outerwear is when they were vying for best costume during the spring slush cup on closing weekend. The rest of the season, most pass holders stuck to their safe neutrals and maybe mixed in one respectable colour they revered both on and off the slopes. But last year was a bit of a game changer because DayGlo colours made a huge comeback on the mountains, and it was no costume party. All season long, people were rocking blindingly bright jackets like they just stepped out of the Hot Tub Time Machine.
This year? Not so much. According to Jacqueline Blackman—marketing strategist for sibling streetwear clothing companies, Arson (for dudes) and Orb (for chicks)—we’re weening ourselves off of retro neons in favour of colours that are more about vibrancy.
“It’s moved from a neon to more saturated tones,” says, Blackman, who recently sat down with the Straight to talk about what’s hot in the world of ski and snowboarding wear. “So it’s still a punch of colour, but it’s richer and deeper now.”
A great example is Arson’s men’s Trigger jacket ($245) in flame, a smoking-hot tangerine that makes a statement whether it’s paired with neutral pants or used as part of a colour-blocking scheme. Likewise, Orb’s cobalt Bluebird pieces can work as that one beautiful hit of colour in your outfit or can be stacked with contrasting shades.
As for signature graphics and busy contrasting piping, those trends seem to have taken a back seat this season. Instead, we’re seeing more solids with super-subtle embossed patterns that can only be seen when the jacket catches the light. The aforementioned Trigger design, for example, has a sheeny monochromatic plaid, barely visible upon first glance. The bonus here is these minimalist designs should give you more staying power in terms of style. In other words, they won’t scream 2012 when you’re carving it up in 2014.
Another colour trend this season is straight off the runway: we’re seeing a lot of wines, burgundies, and maroons in outerwear. Orb’s latest collection, for instance, boasts gorgeous Dark Cherry pieces that hit all the right marks—on-trend, yet classic-looking at the same time.
In terms of jacket cuts, ladies are going a little longer, somewhat more fitted, and sometimes even a tad asymmetrical. The hemline on Orb’s Valhalla style ($319), for instance, dips down past the butt. From a fashion perspective, that hint of a tail gives this jacket a very contemporary feel. And, from a function perspective, it’s genius because it doubles as a seat warmer when you plant your ass down on the cold snow to do up your bindings.
Other functional features on Orb and Arson’s fully loaded separates—which you can buy online (arson.ca/ and orbclothing.ca/ )—include removable powder skirts, fully sealed seams, and sleeve insulation.
As for pants, guys are still going for a relaxed fit, and army green and black continue to be the top sellers in the men’s department. For ladies, there are still a handful of hardcore shredders who prefer the B-boy look. But the majority of mountain mamas simply want a slimmer-fitting pant like the Orb Willow ($219), which has enough room to move but stays on your hips without the aid of belt.
And don’t worry—you won’t lose any street cred if you opt for a cut or colour that actually flatters. As Blackman points out, there are plenty of hardcore boarders who go for this more feminized, yet equally functional, style because they don’t want to look like they’re cloaked in their boyfriend’s gear. “It’s for the rider who wants it for everyday use,” says Blackman, adding, “but still wants to look cute.”